November 05, 2014
Is Online Education Right For Your Learning Style?
Everyone knows about online education and eLearning. It’s everywhere, it’s popular and it surrounds us. Maybe you are a busy professional or an aspiring college student and you are considering taking online education for a test drive. But you may be contemplating taking the plunge because you’ve heard that eLearning only works for particular learning styles. The fact of the matter is, eLearning can be a great fit for all types of learners if you go about it in the right way. Read on to discover your personal learning style, find out why online education can work for you and how it can be catered to fit your needs.
When it comes to learning styles, people fit into three main categories (or a combination of any of the three). These learning styles include auditory, visual and kinesthetic. If you aren’t exactly sure what type of learner you are, this post can give you some great insights. It is extremely beneficial to know your preferred, or most effective, learning style because it equips you with the knowledge of what works best for you as well as how to adjust your surroundings and implement strategies to be the most successful you possibly can be. You will probably see that you fall into one main category and have small tendencies to the others as well.
Let’s go over exactly what each learning style means:
- Auditory Learners are equipped to learn best through their sense of hearing. Potential characteristics of an auditory learner include enjoyment in reading aloud, ability to explain topics well to others, ability to follow spoken directions well and enjoyment in giving oral reports or being on stage.
- Visual Learners have the ability to work best by utilizing their keyed-in sense of sight. Visual learners tend to need quiet study time, be good at spelling, enjoy things like color and fashion, understand charts and diagrams well and rely upon visual aids during lecture.
- Kinesthetic Learners are those who learn best through experience or performing tasks. These types of learners tend to be good at repairing things, may be easily distracted, are less affected by background noise and like engaging in role play activities that aid in learning.
Are you beginning to get a better understanding of which type of learner you are yet? Read on for more information and tips on how to be successful based upon your individual learning style.
Auditory learners love using mnemonic devices in order to remember important information while studying. Have you ever heard the phrase “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Noodles?” That’s a mnemonic device and it’s used to memorize the names of the planets in our solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Pluto. That has got to have been invented by an auditory learner, don’t you think? Other effective strategies for this learning style include listening to videos and demonstrations, listening to recorded lectures or reading aloud to one self. For an auditory learner, making up rhymes or jingles to remember important information can also be a highly effective strategy. To supplement your education, it is also a great idea to take a look into podcasts related to the topic you are studying and listen to them at your leisure. You can even download classes to your iPod through iTunesU, a service featuring a compilation of mobile classes you can listen to on-the-go. Overall, an individual with an auditory learning style has the potential to really thrive in an online education setting. Learning online gives you a plethora of access to videos, audio recordings, podcasts and audio books. It also enables you to learn in a private setting where you are able to read course material aloud to yourself without distracting others. Many online training programs will supply you with access to many auditory-friendly learning tools and some programs may already have them already incorporated into the curriculum.
The fact of the matter is, eLearning can be a great fit for all types of learners if you go about it in the right way.
Visual learners like using diagrams and drawings because this enables them to take a mental picture of important information so they can file it away for later use. For these types of learners, it is easier to remember a visual piece than a bunch of words. Visual learners can have much success through strategies such as color coding their notes, drawing up outlines or mind maps to organize information, watching videos or building PowerPoint presentations. When working in an online education setting, many students are provided with access to visual aids such as PowerPoint presentation of class notes, links to videos and access to course outlines. Since most information is presented through a text format or through some other visual aid, the visual learner’s needs are catered to in online education formats and these individuals are able to soak up new information quite easily.
Kinesthetic learners prefer hands-on learning, so you may be wondering how it is possible for this type of learner to thrive in a distance learning format. The answer is that many online education programs are beginning to realize the need to cater more specifically to the hands-on learning style. There are many features a kinesthetic learner should look for in an eLearning format and also things the individual can do to make any program work more effectively for them. Mobile learning opportunities are becoming much more prominent, which allow the kinesthetic learner to learn on-the-go while not having to be tied down to a specific schedule. These types of learners can also benefit from engaging in exercise while reading class materials or notes. This prevents them from getting bogged down or bored with what they are reading. They should look for classes that provide students the opportunity to participate in thought-provoking discussions, at-home labs, experiments, exploring the web or completing research projects. It can also be beneficial for a kinesthetic learner to be assigned activities in which they have to go out into the real world to complete assignments and then report their findings and reactions to their peers in a forum. Interactive or engaging tasks will help the kinesthetic learner reach their maximum potential and have the highest level of success in their learning endeavors.
Through reading this article, it is my hope that you now have the ability to see yourself being successful as an eLearner. Online learning supplies you with the freedom and flexibility you desire while not coming up short in quality in relation to on-site classes. Give it a try, it’s for everyone.
This article appeared on ELearn Magazine on June 25 2013 and was written by Bailey Martin.
About Bailey Martin
Bailey is in an Internet Marketing Specialist at Rocket 55, a web design, SEO and social media firm, based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She currently does marketing work for Allen Interactions, an eLearning and professional development solutions company, based in Mendota Heights, Minnesota.